What I've Been Reading This Fall

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick Lit! See more recommended reads here.

It feels like forever since I've done a book roundup post - actually it's been six months, and I've gotten through a lot of books in that time. 

I won't give you the entire list (you can find that on my Goodreads account), but here are my favorite 6 books of the past 6 months. And please feel free to recommend anything you've enjoyed lately in the comments - as if I really need any more additions to my TBR list...

Room by Emma Donoghue

A friend at work passed this book to me. Although I've seen it in countless stores, I never realized what a tragic and profoundly moving story it is. The novel is told from a five-year-old boy's perspective as he and his mother escape the only world he has ever known - an eleven-by-eleven foot room, where his mother has been held captive for seven years. The author shares details of captivity that I never thought of. Read with tissues nearby, especially if you're a boy-mom like me. (And the movie has been released in theaters this month - I can't wait to see it.)

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor's Journey Into the Christian Faith by Rosario Champagne Butterfield

Our pastor mentioned this book in passing one Sunday, and I ordered it from the library the next day. Rosario Champagne Butterfield was a lesbian women's studies English professor, tenured at a major university and an LGBT rights activist - until her life was completely shattered by Jesus. She shares her faith journey, the relationships that impacted her, and sharp insights into both the LGBT and Christian communities. It is one of the most well articulated books I've read on homosexuality, evangelical Christianity, and Christian life.

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

This lyrical novel is the epic tale of a boy who goes with his father and sister to find their runaway brother after he escapes jail on murder charge. But Rube's father has a deep faith God, and miracles follow them on their journey. It is a cross between 1950's Americana travelogues, mystical spirituality, and good versus evil. 

I breathe deeply, and certainty enters into me like light, like a piece of science, and curious music seems to hum inside my fingers.
Is there a single person on whom I can press belief?
No sir.
All I can do is say, Here’s how it went. Here’s what I saw.
I’ve been there and am going back.
Make of it what you will.
— Leif Enger, Peace Like a River

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

I have been recommending this novel to everyone I work with. Victoria Jones turns eighteen and is freed from the foster system and left completely disconnected from any support or purpose in her life. Her one anchor is her love for the Victorian language of flowers taught to her by a now estranged foster mother. Her story of love, new life, and loss is heartbreaking, especially as you see how her childhood in the foster system damaged her in terrible ways. Although a fictional tale, it is written by a foster mother who speaks from years of experience in caring for children and youth, and it is a painful yet eye-opening way to understand the experiences of those in foster care. (Also read this one with tissues at hand, and you might want to avoid it for a few months if you're a new mom...)

A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes From My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg

I can't tell if this is a memoir with recipes, or an autobiographical cookbook. Either way, it is delicious and beautiful. Each recipe is prefaced with a story about its origin. Wizenberg takes us from her childhood in an Oklahoma kitchen to the streets of Paris, forging her identity as a cook and writer while grieving her father's death, and on to her new home and husband in Seattle. There are few photo-less cookbooks I enjoy using, but her writing is so descriptive, I know exactly what the result should look like.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

This post-apocalyptic science fiction novel told from multiple viewpoints is not my normal jam - but I'm so glad I saw it on the New & Notable shelf at the library and took a chance on it. The storyline moves seamlessly throughout a forty-year period, before and after a deadly epidemic wipes out the vast majority of the earth's population. It asks what those who are left must do to survive, and what role art and creativity can play in such a world. 

These are books that are sitting on my nightstand right now -

If you've read any good books lately, I'd love some recommendations - especially if you have any light or humorous fiction to share. As you can tell, I've been into some heavy topics lately and need some lightening up!

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